NFL Winners and Losers….

Wow, it’s a week like this, that reminds you (in case you need it), why we love sports. Just in case you were sleeping this week, or were a little engrossed in the nation’s politics, here are my winners and losers for this week’s post lock-out shenanigans:
NFL-Post Lock-Out Madness
New England Patriots 
They need no introduction, love them, or hate them they are a dominant presence in the National Football League. Historically cheap, the Pats weren’t expected to make a big splash in free agency, but a big splash is just what they did. On July 28, Chad OchoCinco restructured a three year contract to join the New England Patriots. Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2001 draft, OchoCinco has set numerous franchise records and is the 6th player in NFL history to amass 10,000 receiving yards with one team. OchoCinco loves the limelight and he has had his share of drama, but talent and heart he is not lacking. Chad has 10,783 receiving yards in his career with sixty-six touchdowns, on a team that has only had two winning seasons in the last twenty seasons. OchoCinco is hungry for a ring and there is no doubt in  my mind that he will do what it takes to get one. Combine his drive with his love affair with Belichick and that is a winning combo. OK, the acquisition of Albert Haynesworth wasn’t a deal breaker. But, if I were a Pats fan, I wouldn’t be too upset.  Haynesworth just two years ago was considered “the most dominant defensive tackle in the league”. But, sometimes losing so much leads players to lack motivation. Not saying that it is right, but it is what it is. Yeah, he has a reputation of being a punk, but that attitude won’t fly in NE, so he knows this is his last chance.
Oh, yeah and the Pats resigned Matt Light. I am sure the fans love him and he a great guy for the team, but I seem to remember Light spending more time on his back last year than anywhere else. Either way, the Pats are winners Post-Lockout.
Philadelphia Eagles
Arguably, the best cornerback in the league (next to Revis), Nnamdi Asomugha signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles, one day after acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Cardinals. After allowing a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes in the regular season, the Eagles primary focus has been on corners and pass rushers. Now, with the signing of Nnamdi, they have three Pro-Bowl cornerbacks on their roster.
In addition to the signings of Cromartie and Asomugha, the Eagles also announced a one-year contract for Vince Young, as a back-up to Vick. Then signed, defensive end Jason Babin to a five year contract and tight end Donald Lee and wide receiver Johnny Lee Higgins to one year contracts.
I’m not completely sold on the Eagles yet, especially with Vick at the helm, but there is no doubt that they are definite winners in this offseason.
Losing out on the Nnamdi sweepstakes didn’t deter the New York Jets. The two biggest priorities for the Jets in this offseason was the receiver and cornerback position. The Jets resigned cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie has yet to live up to his potential, but after being the Jets second choice after not acquiring Asomugha, Cromartie has a lot to prove. Having the best cornerback in the game on your team, should be able to teach him a few things. The Jets agreed to a five- year, $50 million contract with Santonio Holmes. The 2009, Super Bowl MVP has 287 receptions with 4,851 receiving yards in his five year career. Holmes is a game changer, the Jets made him top priority.
Fresh out of jail, and looking for a new home, 6’5 wide receiver Plaxico Burress got his second chance and signed for a one-year deal with $3.017 million guaranteed. A perfect fit for Plaxico, Sanchez and the Jets welcomed him with open arms. At 34 years old, Plaxico has a contract too play for, expect him to go out and play his heart out. Remember, the Giants wouldn’t have won the 2008 Super Bowl without him.
Oakland Raiders
Where do I begin…Out of all the teams that Nnamdi was rumored to be talking to, the team that he was drafted by and only team he has played for was not on the list. Helmed by cryptkeeper, Al Davis, the Raiders haven’t always been this bad. Davis has been part of the organization since 1963, flourishing in “west coast offense”. But, since the infamous tuck rule game against the Patriots in 2001, the Raiders have been an afterthought, a far stretch from their Madden days. There were various reasons that could be an excuse for their underachieving, no formidable QB, off the field issues, poor coaching, lack of stability, whatever the case, it is a new year…..And so far, this year looks no different then the last ten.
Dallas Cowboys
In the thick of the Asomugha sweepstakes, Dallas lost out big time, and to their biggest rival. Partner that, with the fact that the eternally overrated Tony Romo is coming back from a broken left clavicle, not having played in almost a year. The Cowboys released Marion Barber, Roy Williams, and Leonard Davis, all for different reasons. Who have they acquired? Oh, yeah, Kenyon  Coleman, for all they gave up and missed out on, it seems like a loss to me.
San Francisco 49ers
How the mighty have fallen…The 49ers secondary is depleted and they have arguably one of the highest paid busts in the history of the game at their quarterback position. They just released Nate Clements, who in 2007, the 49ers made the highest paid defensive player in NFL history, with an eight-year, $80 million contract. Nate Clements spent most of his stint playing with San Fran injured and just got picked up by the Bengals. San Fran likes to throw their money around to players that are either overrated OR haven’t proved anything. And in recent 49er fashion, no useful moves have been made in this signing frenzy.

My Honorable Mentions are:
Carolina Panthers 
Picked up Derek Anderson to be a back-up to number one overall draft pick, Cam Newton. It looks like Steve Smith is staying and they just reached an agreement with RB DeAngelo Williams. Under new coach, Ron Rivera, the Panthers are going to come out swinging this season.
 Cincinnati Bengals
Come on people, no explanation is needed. Even their franchise QB doesn’t want to be there. Why would we want to watch that train wreck?

Up next…Just as I predicted Randy Moss isn’t going to go anywhere unless he has a a chance for a ring.  But, say it isn’t so, retired? My take on Moss, his retirement and his legacy…

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